Archive of the Pathological Society of Manchester

  • Reference
      GB 133 PSM
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 linear metre; 79 items.
  • Location
      Collection available at University Archive and Records Centre, main University Library.

Scope and Content

The archive of the Society appears to be a fairly complete record of its activities between foundation and subsequent amalgamation with the Manchester Medical Society. The collection includes copies of the Society's laws (PSM/1). There is an apparently complete set of annual reports, 1893-1938/9 (PSM/2); complete sets of minutes of the Committee (PSM/3) and of meetings of the Society (PSM/4); the published Transactions of the Society (PSM/6/2), plus published addresses of papers delivered to the Society (PSM/9). There is also a small collection (apparently incomplete) of membership records (MMC/5).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Pathological Society of Manchester was founded in 1885 as a forum for Manchester physicians with an interest in pathology. Its declared object was:

"The cultivation and promotion of Pathology, by the Exhibition of Specimens, Microscopic Preparations, Casts, Models etc., illustrative of Morbid Conditions; by the investigation of Morbid Products; by the reading of papers and by such other means as may be found desirable." (Laws 1898)

The Society was set up by Dr Henry Ashby (1846-1908) and Alfred H Young (1852-1912), and first met on 24 March 1885 in the Anatomy Theatre of Owens College. Ashby and Young were former president and secretary respectively of the Microscopical Section of the Manchester Medical Society. Members of the section had wanted more independence from the Society, and decided to set up a separate society for those interested in pathology.

Owens College professors such as Julius Dreschfeld (1845-1907) [professor of pathology 1881-1891] Sheridan Delépine (1855-1921) [professor of comparative pathology and bacteriology] and James Lorrain Smith (1862-1931) [professor of pathology 1904-1912] were particularly influential in the Society. In 1903, the Society held its first laboratory meeting, where members were invited to demonstrate specimens. In 1906 the PSM played an important role in the formation of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and its inaugural meeting of this society was held in the Physiology Theatre of the University of Manchester on 14 July 1906.

In 1919 the Society had abortive negotiations with the Manchester Medical Society over amalgamation. In 1946, this issue was revived, and in 1950 the Society merged with MMS and became its Section of Pathology.


The archive of the Society was formerly treated as part of the Manchester Medical Collection (H 2 c). However, as the archive is a discrete and independent collection, accumulated independently of the MMC, it has been decided to catalogue it as a separate fonds. Former references are indicated when appropriate.

Former reference: Manchester Medical Collection H 2 c

The archive is made up of the following series

  • /1 Laws
  • /2 Annual reports
  • /3 Records of Committee
  • /4 Records of Meetings
  • /5 Membership records
  • /6 Transactions
  • /7 History of the Society
  • /8 Social events
  • /9 Addresses

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands University Library, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PP.

Custodial History

The archive was maintained by the Society until it amalgamated with the Manchester Medical Society in 1950. The MMS took over custody of the archive at that date, and transferred it to JRUL at a later date.

The collection is held on deposit at JRUL on behalf of the MMS.

Related Material

The Manchester Medical Society archive (GB 133 MMS ) contains the records of the Section of Pathology (MMS/2/1), the successor body to the PSM in the merged organisation.

There is also a file of papers concerning relations between the PSM and the Medical Society (1889, 1903-4) in the MMS archive (MMS/1/8/27).

Geographical Names